Freeport-McMoRan Inc.

Port Nickel

Phoenix, Arizona, United States

Certified Gold through 2022

Project Name
Project Type
Wetland Restoration & Management
Wetlands & Water Bodies
Feral Hog Management Program
Invasive Species
Chinese Tallow Treatment
Invasive Species
Conservation Education on Wetland Restoration
Formal Learning
About the Program
The Freeport-McMoRan Inc. Port Nickel site is a closed mining operation located in Braithwaite, Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana. The site, which is approximately 1,100 acres, lies approximately 15 miles south of New Orleans near the east bank of the Mississippi River. The Port Nickel Team is striving to restore their portion of the imperiled wetlands of Louisiana’s coast and to educate youth in the community about their importance and function, and how they can be restored. The site is 37 acres in size and is connected to the Big Mar wetland area through its drainage. This area is actively being restored through projects undertaken by both government and NGOs. The team works closely with these organizations to coordinate their management and restoration efforts.

Practices and Impacts
  • The site’s process water pond (previously used to contain reserve process water from the Mississippi River required for manufacturing operations) and downgradient area is being restored by the Port Nickel team to pre-operational conditions for the benefit of wildlife. The team manages water levels to be consistent with the surrounding wetlands and to support their plantings of native tree species, such as bald cypress, nutall oak, dwarf palmetto and wax myrtle.
  • The team actively and persistently implements an invasive species management program for feral hogs which, through their rooting activity, destroy native habitat and new plantings. Control practices, such as trapping and hunting, are ongoing. The team utilizes the expertise of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries in this effort.
  • An invasive species management program for Chinese tallow is also ongoing. Chinese tallow out-competes native vegetation and is a threat to the team’s plantings. The team utilizes techniques such as manual removal and careful applications of herbicides to individual trees. As this is a difficult species to control, the team is currently conducting a formal trial control program to determine best management practices for future use.
  • The team also implements a program for Conservation Education on Wetland Restoration. While this program was instituted 8 years ago and initially targeted high school students, it is now expanded to include elementary and middle school students as well as 4-H groups, giving local schools an accessible area for STEM education. Students participate in exercises pertaining to water quality, performing transects, data collection/analysis and invasive species management. The team also uses native plants grown and planted by students on the wetland restoration site.